Monday, November 13, 2017

VALENTINI PALACE

PALAZZO VALENTINI
1583/85 Fra' Domenico Paganelli for Cardinal Michele Bonelli nephew of St. Pius V Ghislieri (1566/72) and known as Palazzo Bonelli
Expanded in the first half of the seventeenth century maybe by Francesco Peparelli (active from about 1626/d. 1641)
In the years 1705/13 it was rented to the Marquis Francesco Maria Ruspoli who opened a theater in the building and hosted musicians such as George Frideric Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti and Angelo Corelli
In 1752 it was bought by Cardinal Giuseppe Renato Imperiali who arranged a rich library with 24,000 volumes also visited by Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717/78)
From 1827 it belonged to the banker Vincenzo Valentini who had the FAÇADE FACING THE FORUM OF TRAJAN built in about 1830 by Filippo Navone (active first half of XIX century)
The Valentini family had in it a great picture gallery and lived here until 1870
Since 1873 it is the headquarters of the PROVINCE OF ROME, which transformed the courtyard and the interior in 1878 by Luigi Gabet (active 1858/78)
In the COURTYARD there are four ancient statues with modern changes:
“Valentini Aphrodite”
“Man with breastplate and head of Marcus Aurelius” maybe not relevant
“Hermes of Andros with head of Pertinax” not relevant
“Naked man with head of Caracalla” not relevant
The palace houses a collection of ancient statues and paintings which belonged to Vincenzo Valentini with works by artists such as Carlo Cignani and Ludovico Stern (1709/77) as well as many anonymous seventeenth century artists 
ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPLORATIONS
1,800 square meters (20,000 square feet) residential district comprising
Two richly decorated houses (domus) of the fourth century AD maybe owned by a judge or a senator: walls decorated with polychrome panels and polychrome mosaic floors
Small private baths
The excavations were made from 2006 to 2010
Landfill of the sixteenth century known as BUTTO (throw) where ceramic plates were discovered, as well as everyday objects and even food scraps
Two sculptures of “Togati” of the second century AD without head that had been used as a fill for foundations in the sixteenth century
Stretch of paved Roman road very well preserved
Two “Fragments of huge monolithic columns” in Egyptian granite similar to the one near the Column of Trajan and probably part of the Temple of Trajan, whose exact topographic location is still the focus of academic debate. The columns had to have a minimum height of 15 m (49 feet) and perhaps it was even 20 m (65 feet) high
The area is beautifully accessible with very effective reconstructions using virtual reality and an exciting archaeological trail that goes up to the front of the Trajan's Column
An example that should be imitated in many other archaeological sites, almost a waking dream for those who love Rome, made possible thanks to the initiative of the great popularizer Piero Angela

Friday, November 10, 2017

TORLONIA PALACE

PALAZZO TORLONIA
Begun about 1500 by Cardinal Adriano da Corneto Castellesi secretary of Alexander VI Borgia (1492/1503) with a project maybe by Donato Bramante (1444/1514)
The works were completed in about 1520 maybe by Andrea Bregno (1418/1503)
It was donated unfinished in 1505 to the King of England, Henry VIII, who had commissioned the now disappeared external paintings to Polidoro Caldara aka Polidoro da Caravaggio
It was the seat of the English Embassy and was seized by the apostolic chamber after the Anglican schism
Between 1609 and 1635 it belonged to the Borghese family
In 1760 it was bought by the French bankers Giraud and was called PALAZZO GIRAUD
Since 1820 it belongs to the Torlonia family who restored it and built the rear wing. They are still the owners to this day

Monday, October 30, 2017

TORLONIA PALACE ON VIA DELLA LUNGARA

PALAZZO TORLONIA ALLA LUNGARA
The 620 pieces of the TORLONIA COLLECTION founded in 1859 by Alessandro Torlonia were exhibited until the Fifties in seventy-seven rooms
It was sculptures, busts, sarcophagi and ancient reliefs collected by the family and, for the most part, bought from the most important private collections:
115 pieces from the Giustiniani collection and other pieces from the Savelli and Caetani collections as well as from the Cavaceppi studio
The collection was later enriched with the excavations in areas owned by the Torlonia family: Villa dei Quintili, the Circus of Maxentius on the Appian Way (the tomb of Romulus was transformed into a “country home” with the addition of a porch in the nineteenth century) Cerveteri, the Port of Trajan in Fiumicino and the area around Lake Fucino which was drained by Alessandro in the mid-nineteenth century (he later founded the Bank of Fucino of which the family is still a shareholder) and other locations
It is considered the most important private collection of ancient sculptures in the world and it constitutes for quantity and quality almost a third of all the ancient sculptures in Rome
Among the masterpieces shamefully hidden:
The famous “Hestia Giustiniani” perhaps a copy of the second century AD from a bronze original of about 470 BC
In the seventeenth century it was property of the Giustiniani family who kept it in their palace and from whom took its name
Hestia was the Greek goddess of hearth and home, even if this beautiful Roman statue was perhaps a Hera or Demeter, as a type of representation in the round of Hestia in Greek sculpture is not yet known
Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717/78) considered it erroneously an example of the kind of classical Greek art described as “severe”
The statue is now in the Palazzo Torlonia on Via della Conciliazione
Other pieces:
Two copies of the “Eirene” from the original by Kefisodotos
An “Athlete” from the original by Myron of Eleutere (about 500/about 440 BC)
A “Diadoumenos” from the original by Polykleitos of Argos (about 490/about 425 BC)
A copy of a “Feminine Figure” from the group of Menelaus
An “Aphrodite Anadyomene”
A “Statue of woman sitting with a mastiff” among the most significant examples of such neo-attic representations
“Relief with Vesta during a sacrifice” found near the Port of Trajan in 1867
A “Greek object offered as a vow to some Athenians deity” of the fifth century BC
Moreover:
“107 Imperial Busts” including “Colossal and veiled portrait of Plotina”, “Julia Domna”, “Portrait of a Man veiled known as Massenzio” from the Circus of Maxentius and some of the most remarkable examples of portraits dating back to the late empire
Until the Fifties the collection was accessible to those who would ask the Torlonia, but they would discretionarily limit the entrance only to the rich and nobles, so that it is said that Professor Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli had to pretend to work as a cleaner to see the collection
The end of this amazing private museum was chilling: in 1979 seventy-seven rooms were converted into 93 STUDIO APARTMENTS for rent. The whole operation was done in a completely illegal way as it was established by the Supreme Court!
The poor sculptures were either closed in boxes in the basement where they are still now or were transported elsewhere
For years a controversy has been going on between the City of Rome and the Torlonia family so that the 620 treasures could be finally exhibited
Palazzo Rivaldi, which is being renovated, has been proposed as a suitable place for a new museum

TESTA PICCOLOMINI PALACE

PALAZZO TESTA PICCOLOMINI
Restructured after 1670 by Basilio Bricci (1621/92) and his sister Plautilla Bricci (1616/about 1701) who made a nice decoration with the arms of the Piccolomini on the windows of the main floor and the bottom of the cornice
Renovation 1718/19 by Filippo Barigioni (about 1680/1753), a pupil of Carlo Fontana for Giovanni Ferrante Testa Piccolomini

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

TAVERNA PALACE

PALAZZO TAVERNA
Built in the fifteenth century for the ORSINI FAMILY on the ruins of the fortress of Giordano Orsini of the fourteenth century
The fortress had been built in turn over an original nucleus of the twelfth century, the Castle of Giovanni Concione from Riano
The impressive building complex is located on MONTE GIORDANO (Mount Jordan) artificial mound believed by some to be corresponding to the Amphitheater of Statilius Taurus, which, however, was most probably built on the site of Palazzo Cenci Bolognetti
It is mentioned by Dante in Canto XVIII of his Inferno: From the one hand, everyone has the face to the castle and go to St. Peter, from the other side they go towards the mountain
From 1286 to 1688 it was the headquarters of the powerful Orsini family
From 1688 to 1888 it belonged to the Gabrielli di Regola
Since 1888 it is property of Taverna counts from Milan who still own it and rent for receptions
FOUNTAIN OF THE ACQUA PAOLA
Fourfold basin within an exedra of laurels 1615/18 by Antonio Felice Casoni (1559/1634) modified in 1700
AUGUSTA TOWER 1880
MAIN FLOOR
Large paintings including “Esther before Ahasuerus” and “Finding of Moses” about 1711 by the great painter from the Veneto region Sebastiano Ricci (1659/1734) and other paintings by G.B. Pittoni (1687/1767)
“The art of Sebastiano Ricci from Belluno can be considered a true paradigm of painting of the eighteenth century. Because it exemplifies what will be the constant tendency of all the best painters, namely the analysis of multiple experiences of the present and the past, extended far beyond the limits of their school, to be summarized in a modern angle, both interpretative and technical. Such a re-enactment of the still fertile seventeenth century matrices, implemented in various youth travel with broad diversification, allowed him to make a clear break against the now fruitless local culture” (Giancarlo Sestieri)
“Death of Virginia Romana” 1793/1804 by Vincenzo Camuccini (1771/1844)
Frescoes 1688/90 by Bonaventura Lamberti (about 1653/1721) and 1812/16 by Liborio Coccetti (1739/1816)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

SPADA PALACE - SPADA GALLERY (third part)

Room III
The room was known as GALLERY OF THE CARDINAL and was designed in the years 1636/37 by Paolo Marucelli (1594/1649)
Ceiling decorations “Four parts of the world, the four elements and the four seasons” 1698/99 by Michelangelo Ricciolini (1654/1715)
“Portrait of Youth” maybe by Annibale Carracci (1560/1609)
“Allegory of the Massacre of the Innocents” about 1639 and “Sacrifice of Iphigenia” 1640 by Pietro Testa (1612/50) Lucca engraver who committed suicide in the Tiber for disappointments in his painting career
“Astronomers” about 1645 and Cain and Abel” by Niccolò Tornioli (1598/1651)
The Astronomers exalts the new astronomical discoveries and in particular the telescope of 1609 by Galileo Galilei
At the center of the picture is Nicolaus Copernicus showing the phases of the moon, to the left Ptolemy and Aristotle, and on the right the woman with the turban is Astronomy itself. Galileo Galilei (1564/1642) had recently died and this painting was a burning issue at the time
Some scholars saw a quote of the Narcissus attributed to Caravaggio in the man on the right looking into the telescope, as well as one of the reasons they would ascribe with certainty the Narcissus to Caravaggio
“The Vestal Virgins” about 1670 by Ciro Ferri (1634/89)
“Landscape” about 1555 by the visionary Niccolò dell'Abate (about 1510/71)
“There are two scenes socially opposite: the aristocratic wild boar hunting with knights and ladies in the foreground, and the popular procession with the greasy pole in the distance. The fantasy architecture that gives the entire composition a fairytale feel, refers to the Flemish landscapes and to those of Dosso Dossi” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
“Feast of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra” about 1701 by Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746) from Istria, with Cleopatra dissolving a pearl in wine to show her indifference to wealth
“In the episode, described with theatrical taste, are placed precious details that combine features of sixteenth-century Venetian tradition with those of Roman classicism” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
“Summer and Autumn” and “Spring and Winter” by Luigi Garzi (1638/1721)
“The Abduction of Aeneas” copy of Giacinto Campana (1600/about 1650) from the original by Guido Reni now in the Louvre. Reni himself revised this copy
“The Death of Dido” about 1631 by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri aka Guercino (1591/1666) composed almost like a scene out of the newly born Italian musical theater, also known as opera, the most comprehensive art form that would eventually spread throughout the world
“The work is remarkable for the scenographic vision and the richness of the costumes is made with plastic and coloristic sense, characteristics of the artist's work, learned from experiences in Veneto, Bologna and Ferrara” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
Two paintings of the same subject “Boreas Abducting Orythia” one by Francesco Solimena (1657/1747) and one by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610/62) from Viterbo, a pupil of Pietro da Cortona
“Bacchus” by Pier Francesco Mola (1612/66)
“Spring or Flora” about 1680 by Carlo Cignani (1628/1719)
“Looting of a village” by Peter Snayers (1592/1666)
Very realistic “Portrait of young man” by a follower of Annibale Carracci
“View of a beach by moonlight” by Egbert van der Poel (1621/64)
“Death of Cleopatra” 1706 and “Death of Marcantonio” 1702 by Domenico Maria Muratori (1661/1742) for Cardinal Fabrizio Spada
“Christ and the Samaritan” about 1677 and the sketch of “Triumph in the name of Jesus” for the vault of the Chiesa del Gesù (Church of Jesus) by G.B. Gaulli aka Baciccio (1639/1709)
“S. Lucia's shoulders” about 1632 by Francesco Furini (1603/46)
In this very original painting S. Lucia holds a plate with her eyes which had been removed by the torturers. An opportunity for the Florentine Francesco Furini to show off his specialty: painting beautiful bare backs of women
“He preferred the female figure and created a kind of refined painting genre whose subject, inspired by the poems of chivalry, the biblical tradition and mythology, were appreciated by scholarly collectors. Deeply stimulated by the trip to Venice and the painting by Pietro da Cortona (working in Florence in 1637), Furini became in his maturity a painter increasingly fluid and soft” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“Portrait of Angela Mignanelli” about 1730 by Marco Benefial (1684/1764)
“The smug expression of the face, not rigid, but natural and of remarkable psychological intensity is enhanced by using soft and pasty brush strokes which give brightness to the eyes, sweet and mysterious at the same time. (...) The artist seems to overcome the ways of Roman portraiture of the seventeenth-eighteenth century and get closer to the French one, anticipating more casual formal solutions that will be in vogue especially in the second half of 1700s at the hands of Mengs, Goya, and Pier Leone Ghezzi” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
“Landscape with windmills” 1607 by Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568/1625)
At the center of the room two globes 1616/22 by the Dutch cartographer William Bleau
“Statue of a philosopher sitting” of the beginning of the first century AD
Room IV
“David with the Head of Goliath” about 1610 by Orazio Lomi aka Orazio Gentileschi (1563/1639) from Pisa
About 50 cm (20 inches) of the painting in the lower part have been lost, where the body of Goliath was
“The painting, in which the hand of Agostino Tassi has been identified in the landscape, reflects the classicist ideals of Carracci's style, and the realistic ones that enrich the scene into several parts, as one can see in the rendering of the coat. A terse light affects the body of David, enhancing the volumetric characteristics, in memory of the original Tuscan Mannerist training of the painter” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
“Christ and the adulteress” and “Christ tempted by the devil” by Mattia Preti (1613/99)
Christ and the adulteress is a work of extraordinary visual impact and powerful religious significance. The dizzying cleavage of the adulterous woman stuns and draws the eye inexorably as Christ indicates it and watches us expliciting in the act the message of salvation by grace that disregards human works
The message is clear: God's mercy can save us from the sins of the flesh, even from such white and unavoidably erotic flesh
Isn't this cleavage after all so dazzling illuminated by the same light that comes from the right and that shines on Christ's face and also on the beautiful gesture of forgiveness of His left hand?
“La Pietà” by Orazio Borgianni (1578/1616)
“Allegory of Astronomy” by G.B. Magni aka Modenino (about 1592/1674)
Five paintings of the so-called Bamboccio Pieter Van Laer (about 1595/1642)
“The value of detectable anti-rhetorical realism in his paintings reveals a fundamental part of the culture of the Dutch painter in addition to his mastery in the use of light and shadow. His painting and that of his many followers - the Bamboccianti such as Jan Miel, Michiels Sweerts - proposed the discovery of a papal city not monumental, of a Rome that invited reflection on social policies” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
Three paintings in the so-called bambocciante style including “Death of the donkey” and the historical view “Revolt of Masaniello” by Michelangelo Cerquozzi (1602/60)
“Accents more distinctly typical of everyday life than the ones of Pieter Van Laer are detectable in the lively folklore scenes of Cerquozzi, also a follower of Laer, even if he developed an independent style facing also sacred subjects of large format, battles and still lifes” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“The Holy Family with St. John the Baptist” and “Herodias with the head of St. John the Baptist” by Jean Valentin aka Valentin de Boulogne (about 1591/1632)
“St. John the Evangelist” by the Frenchman Nicolas Tournier (1590/post 1657)
“Market” about 1650 by Willem Reuter (1642/1681), influenced by Michiel Sweerts
“Allegory of Vanity” by Andrea Podestà (about 1608/before 1674)
“Capture of Christ” by a follower of Gherardo delle Notti, maybe Trophime Bigot (about 1579/1649)
“S. Cecilia” and “Madonna nursing the Child” by Artemisia Gentileschi (1593/about 1652)
“Worthy disciple of her father Orazio and highly regarded since 1614 in the Florentine art scene, she lived for a long time in Naples, where the local painting environment represented by artists like Cavallino and Caracciolo was deeply influenced by the Caravaggio's knowledge of Artemisia. She inherited from her father the taste for precious fabrics and a preference for the rendering of golden and firm flesh through a naturalistic study of shadows and lights rousing stunningly beautiful effects” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“Both works have been painted in her youth and are characterized by the delicate and refined drawing of colors, for the firmness and for the expressive intensity of the two female figures, the result of the artistic experiences of his father” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
Plaster cast “Divine love defeats profane love” about 1630 maybe a model of the bas-relief at the Galleria Doria Pamphilj by the Flemish artist François Duquesnoy (1597/1643)

Friday, October 20, 2017

SPADA PALACE - SPADA GALLERY (second part)

GALLERIA SPADA
Opened to the public in 1927, closed in the forties and reopened in 1951 for the commitment of the great art historian Federico Zeri who reorganized it, trying to recreate the original appearance of this seventeenth-century private collection
Room I
The decorations on the ceiling and the frieze date back to 1777
“St. Jerome” and “Portrait of Cardinal Bernardino Spada” 1631 by Guido Reni (1575/1642), who maybe also painted the “Slave of Ripa Grande”
“Portrait of Cardinal Bernardino Spada” 1631 by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri aka Guercino (1591/1666)
“Cardinal Bernardino Spada during his papal legation in Bologna (1627-1631) had befriended several artists and especially Reni and Guercino. (...) Both became his official painters so much that he did not hesitate to introduce their skills to the Queen of France, Marie de' Medici, who immediately ordered them some important works. (...) In the painting by Reni the refined and vibrant rendition of the colors and the minute details revealed in the representation of the cardinal outfit, enhance his appearance and his aristocratic look smart and aloof” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
“David and Goliath” and “Portrait of Cardinal Bernardino Spada” in 1653 by Giovanni Domenico Cerrini (1609/81)
“Landscape” by Domenico Zampieri aka Domenichino (1581/1641)
“Portrait of Cardinal Fabrizio Spada” 1754 by Sebastiano Ceccarini (1703/83)
“Bacchus and Ariadne”, “Apollo and Daphne”, “Latona transforming shepherd into frogs” and “Mercury entrusts Bacchus to the nymphs” 1695/99 by Giuseppe Chiari (1654/1727), pupil of Carlo Maratta
Beautiful mythological tableaux reproducing episodes of Ovid's Metamorphoses with a delicate color taste and sensual compositional lightness
They could be considered a fitting visual counterpart to the sublime notes of many dramatic cantatas by Georg Friedrich Händel (1685/1759)
“Solomon worships idols”, “St. John of God cure the lepers” and various “Roman Emperors” by Lazzaro Baldi (about 1624/1703)
“Roman Charity” and “Sacrifice of Mirtillus” by Niccolò Tornioli (1598/1651) from Siena
“Cardinal Bernardino Spada in November 1643 bought seven paintings from Niccolò Tornioli, eclectic painter who could expertly merge Caravaggio's culture with the current Baroque of Pietro da Cortona. Of the seven paintings originally in the gallery, remain only four” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
Two “Still Life with small geniuses” 1714 by Onofrio Loth (1665/1715)
“Landscape with Figures” about 1660 and “Landscape with shepherds” about 1670 by Gaspard Dughet (1615/75)
Four “Battles” by the specialist in this genre Jacques Courtois aka Borgognone (1628/79)
“Portrait of Cardinal Benedetto Naro” about 1825 by Vincenzo Camuccini (1771/1844)
“St. Jerome in Penitence” about 1605 by G.B. Crespi aka Cerano (1567/1632)
Room II
The room was designed in the year 1636/37 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680)
Frieze by Pietro Bonaccorsi aka Perin del Vaga (1501/47) which was to serve as a model for the tapestries designed to cover the plinth of the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel
“The Visitation” maybe by Andrea d'Agnolo aka Andrea del Sarto (1486/1531)
“Portrait of a Man” by Leandro da Ponte aka Leandro Bassano (1557/1622) the son of the more famous Jacopo Bassano
“Portrait of Luca Stella Archbishop of Zadar” by Domenico Robusti aka Tintoretto (1560/1635), the son of the more famous Jacopo Tintoretto
“One of the last works by Domenico Tintoretto, excellent portraitist who manages to effortlessly mix components of the Veneto region culture with the one of Lombardy. In the background it's possible to see the city of Zadar where Luca Stella was archbishop from 1615 to 1624” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
“Passage of the Red Sea” and “Moses drawing water from a rock” plus four paintings of “Night scenes” by the very original Giovanni Andrea Danducci aka Mastelletta (1575/1655)
“The paintings with stories of Moses are early works made out of delicate pastel colors dating back to the 'bright' period of the painter and clearly reflect the influence of Bassano, of the culture of Ferrara and Bologna, of Dossi and Nicolò dell'Abate, with hints of Caravaggio, as can be noted in the figure of the wanderer with the donkey, at the center of the Passage of the Red Sea. To the same painter belong four other works to be referred to his 'dark' period adopted in the mature stage of its activity. They are very impressive nighttime scenes, with fairy-tale characteristics, inspired perhaps by the chivalry poems, that were staged a lot by theater companies between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and where also there's no lack of reference to the painter Ludovico Carracci” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
Three portraits: “Notable”, “Botanist” and “King David” about 1570 by Bartolomeo Passerotti (1529/92)
“Portrait of Violinist” about 1515 by Tiziano Vecellio (Titian) (about 1490/1576)
“The astrologer” by Prospero Fontana (1512/97), father of Lavinia Fontana
“Three heads” maybe by Francesco Mazzola aka Parmigianino (1503/40)
“Cleopatra” about 1580 by Lavinia Fontana (1552/1614)
“Cardinal Nicolò Gaetani and a prelate” about 1580 by Bartolomeo Cesi (1556/1629)
Two tempera on two sides of a wooden panel with “St. Christopher” (recto) and “St. Luke” (verso) about 1510 by Amico Aspertini (1457/1552) from Bologna, who was heavily influenced by the painting of the north of Europe
“Way to Calvary” and “Eternal God Blessing” about 1495 by Marco Palmezzano (1459/1539)
“The Way to Calvary, taken from the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), captures the particular moment in which Simon of Cyrene is forced to help Christ carry the cross, in a calm atmosphere albeit painful, where citations from Melozzo da Forlì in the framing of the composition blend with Bellini themes in the choice of colors with silvery tones and in the background landscape” (Maria Lucrezia Vicini)
“Portrait of young man” 1531 by the Dutchman Jan Van Scorel (1495/1562)
Vivid “Portrait of Julius III Ciocchi del Monte (1550/55)” by an anonymous sixteenth-century Roman artist
“Marble bust of Laocoon” maybe by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Sunday, October 15, 2017

SPADA PALACE - SPADA GALLERY (first part)

PALAZZO SPADA
1548/50 for Cardinal Girolamo Capodiferro maybe by Giulio Merisi (1508/87) and Girolamo da Carpi (1501/56), most likely by Bartolomeo Baronino (1511/54)
FAÇADE decorated in stucco with eight statues of Roman characters (Trajan, Pompey, Fabius Maximus, Romulus, Numa, Claudio Marcello, Caesar and Augustus), and in the courtyard “Centaurs”, “Hunting fairs” and “Legendary divine couples” (Hercules and Omphale, Venus and Mars, Jupiter and Juno, Pluto and Proserpina, Amphitrite and Neptune, Minerva and Mercury) 1556/60 by Giulio Mazzoni (about 1525/after 1589)
“In parallel to the fashionable painted houses makes its way an architectural trend seen in Palazzo Spada or Villa Medici that will be assiduously attended throughout the course of 1500s and even later, whose unequivocal archetype is the Palazzo Branconio dell'Aquila designed by Raphael. Here the parallels with the makeshift theater sceneries leap clear to the eyes, highlighted by common ornamental vocabulary, full of classical references and full of busts, niches, plaques, medals, trophies, garlands, grotesques” (Antonio Pinelli)
It was bought in 1632 by Cardinal Bernardino Spada
Modified 1636/37 by Paolo Marucelli (1594/1649) and Vincenzo Della Greca (1592/1661)
Modified again in the years 1652/53 by Francesco Borromini (1599/1667) who added the incredible PERSPECTIVE GALLERY of 8.82 m (29 feet) that appears to be 35 m (115 feet) designed by the Augustinian father Giovanni Maria da Bitonto
“The idea seems to be derived from the theater (Teatro Olimpico) and we must not forget that it also has a respectable Renaissance ancestry. Bramante applied the same illusion principle to the choir of S. Maria presso S. Satiro in Milan, which must have been one of the first impressions of Borromini. The colonnade concept of Palazzo Spada is therefore not typically Baroque, or has an interest rather marginal in the work of Borromini. To overestimate its significance, as it often happens to those who consider Baroque as a style especially interested in optical illusion, is completely misleading” (Rudolf Wittkower)
In 1927 the Spada family sold it to the Italian government and it became the seat of the CONSIGLIO DI STATO (Council of State). On the same year the four rooms with the art gallery were opened to the public
FIRST FLOOR
Corridor of Bas-reliefs, Corridor of Stuccos and Hall of the General Audiences where there is the so-called “Statue of Pompey” found in about 1553 in Via dei Leutari and mistakenly believed the one before which Julius Caesar died

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

SORA PALACE

PALAZZO SORA
1503/10 maybe by Giuliano Leno for the Fieschi family, even if it has been wrongly attributed to Donato Bramante
It was later property of the Savelli family and in 1579 of Giacomo Boncompagni, Duke of Sora son of Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85)
It was restored in 1845
A third of the building was demolished in 1888 and a new façade was built on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II in imitation of the old one
Now it is a high school called ISTITUTO PROFESSIONALE STATALE PER L’INDUSTRIA E L’ARTIGIANATO CARLO CATTANEO (Professional Institute of State for Industry and Crafts Carlo Cattaneo)

SFORZA CESARINI PALACE

PALAZZO SFORZA CESARINI
1458/62 built for Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, later Pope Alexander VI (1492/1503)
It was given as a sort of “bribe” to Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, who had supported Rodrigo Borgia in the conclave
The Cardinals Sforza and Della Rovere held the functions of Registrars of the Church here and the building was used as Chancellery until Leo X Medici (1513/21) moved the Chancellery offices to Palazzo Riario. Since then palazzo was known as the Old Chancellery
In 1697 the Sforza family intermarried with the Cesarini and since then they unified as Sforza Cesarini, current owners of the building
Modified 1730 by Pietro Passalacqua (1690/1748) with a new FAÇADE ON VIA DEI BANCHI VECCHI
FAÇADE ON CORSO VITTORIO EMANUELE II 1886/88 by Pio Piacentini (1846/1928) in a style that mimics the architecture of the sixteenth century

Monday, October 9, 2017

SERRISTORI PALACE

PALAZZO SERRISTORI
1555, Averardo Serristori ambassador of Tuscany during the reign of Pius IV Medici (1559/65) on the site of an earlier building that had belonged to Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI Borgia (1492/1503)
It was the Embassy for the Medici family and later the Tuscan embassy in Rome until 1830 when it became papal barracks
On 22 October 1867 here took place the terrorist attack of Giuseppe Monti and Gaetano Tognetti that killed many Zouaves (soldiers of the pope) and destroyed a corner of the building. It should have been an act to support the campaign for the liberation of Rome resulted in the defeat at Villa Glori of 76 volunteers and the death of the Cairoli brothers
The two bombers were beheaded at the order of Pius IX the following year
Their story inspired the 1977 film by Luigi Magni In Nome del Papa Re (In the name of the Pope King) with Nino Manfredi
Since 1870 the building was still being used as a barracks by the Italian troops and in 1902 it was dedicated to Luciano Manara
After the First World War it was used by the municipality to accommodate the evicted
In 1929 it was granted to the Holy See, which had it restored by Alberto Calza Bini (1881/1957) to adapt it as school building
Now it is the ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL PIUS IX